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By Miriam Raftery

Photo: California Department of Forestry & Fire (CAL FIRE)

June 24, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – As firefighters battle wildfires across four states, CAL FIRE officials have warned that in this fourth year of drought, 2015 has the worst fire conditions in record. As of today, CAL-FIRE is fighting seven major wildfires in our state.

Speaking Monday at a kick-off for Wildfire Awareness Week in Pollock Pines, scene of last year’s devastating 97,717-acre King Fire, CAL FIRE Chief Ken Pimlott stated, “We’ll be reaching records for potential heat output for times of the year that would normally not be burning in those conditions.”

The water shortage has left more vegetation including lawns dry and also means fire departments need to conserve water, too.   Firefighters are doing more dry-mopping up of blazes and some departments are recycling water used in training exercises, according to an article in Reporting San Diego.

Across the west, firefighters have been battling major blazes in the past week in soaring summer temperatures.

 In California, these include seven fires, notably the Washington Fire in Alpine County’s Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest that has scorched 16,544 acres and is only 5% contained.  View all.  The Lake Fire in San Bernadino’s mountains north of San Diego has ravaged  18,878 acres and is 38% contained.

A wildfire sparked by lightning in Oregon has charred thousands of acres south of Cave Junction on the Rogue-River Siskiyou National Forest, where hundreds of firefighters have been working to battle the blaze.

In Washington state, a wildfire also caused by lightning smoldered for days in Olympic National Park before it was discovered; it has since spread into towering mountains and rugged terrain, drawing a federal firefighting response.

Alaska is the scene of multiple massive fires that have forced evacuations in rural Eskimo villages, burned 12 square miles near Nenana and charred additional acreage near Fairbanks and Juneau.  Firefighters in Alaska face special perils – one was bitten by a bear in Chugach National Park but fortunately suffered only minor injuries.

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